Noah (2014) – Esoteric Analysis

Noah film poster.

Noah film poster.

By: Jay

Darren Aronofsky’s Noah has become the talk of the Internet and religious folk.  As a film, I found it flawed and a little odd in its pacing, but on a deeper level, there is plenty to mine.  Most analyses that focus on the deeper elements come from the evangelical right, up in arms about the “lack of biblical” elements, and some even saying it is blasphemous and “gnostic.”  Readers of Jay’s Analysis know I have no hesitation in slapping the gnostic label on Hollywood’s latest, yet here I am not so eager.   It’s not that the film has no gnostic elements – there are some.  It’s that the film is utilizing kabbalistic  and Jewish oral tradition, which I think is the source for much of the confusion.

Aronofsky did make Pi, which is also based around kabbalistic ideas, particularly numerology and its relation to God.  I am very interested in numerology and how it relates to God, yet on a personal level I just didn’t connect with Pi.  It’s not a bad film, I just found it depressing.  The relevance here is that Pi shows Aronofsky is very much a man of Jewish mysticism and esoterism, despite his claim to be an atheist.   So, more than containing a lot of “gnosticism,” Noah contains a lot of kabbalism, as well as ideas from the Bible, the Book of Enoch, and Jewish midrash.  I don’t pretend to be an expert in these areas, but I have far more familiarity than most.

Overall, I liked the film.  There is nothing wrong with looking beyond there mere text to the oral tradition and the wider context that surrounds the classical biblical narratives.  Evangelicals that were thrown into a frenzy are generally unaware that the “environmental” message was, in fact, accurate.  In the biblical narrative, Noah and his sons had not yet begun eating flesh.  Longevity was much greater due to being still relatively close chronologically to the Edenic state.  Granted, the film took liberties with giving Noah a period of doubting where he thinks he may not have done correctly, since it appeared for a time that God wanted all humanity dead.  Noah was a man, not a superhero.  I think it is appropriate, like all the saints of Genesis, he is portrayed as a flawed man.  Like the rest of the prophets, Noah was not perfect.

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JaysAnalysis: Darwinism Deconstructed, Pt 1

In this discussion, I approach Darwinism in terms of its philosophical presuppositions. The focus of my critique is in terms of the Darwinian worldview and its origins. I will not be giving cheesy creationist arguments here: this is a historic, epistemic and metaphysical critique. Does Darwinism provide “explanatory power” for such issues as the origins of life, biological science, and man’s so-called future progress (or lack thereof)? Is it “scientific”? Why is it so widely held? What are the strongest presuppositional arguments against it?

Part Two is Here.

For further reading, see Dr. Philip Sherrard’s analysis and critique of Teilhard de Chardin here.

The Collins brothers’ analysis of Darwinism as gnostic mythos here.

JaysAnalysis Interviews Author James Kelley

James is the author of Anatomyzing Divinity, published by Trine Day.

James is the author of Anatomyzing Divinity, published by Trine Day.

In this interview I was privileged to speak with author and researcher James Kelley.  James has published Anatomyzing Divinity and Realism of Glory to date, and has expertise in numerous subjects, from philosophy of science to literature to theology.  James explains his thesis on western esoterism and alchemy as a result of the Augustino-platonic tradition and absolute divine simplicity.  From there, we explore the nature of the papal system and church history, to Anglo-mystical imperialism with Elizabeth and 007 John Dee, as well as various ideas about the association of espionage and hermeticism.  Get Kelley’s Anatomyzing Divinity here.

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For JaysAnalysis’ other interviews go here!

Romanian Writer Ninel Ganea Interviews Jay’s Analysis, Pt 2

Adam and Eve become empiricists.

Adam and Eve become empiricists.

Romanian writer, philosopher, and member of the Von Mises Institute, Ninel Ganea interviewed me concerning my own thoughts surrounding a variety of issues.  Ninel runs Karamazov.ro  and is posting the interview in 3 installments.  Below is part 2.

Part 1 here

Part 3 here

You mentioned somewhere you were in between Orthodox Judaism and Eastern Christianity. Can you tell us what some of the strong and the weak points in these traditions?

These are complicated issues, but being raised with an interest in church and having a long interest in biblical theology, the Torah, prophets and wisdom literature had a profound effect on me. In my long religious trek, I basically got the point where I felt that there could be a divide with the Law and the New Testament. I’m the kind of person that is willing to question my own assumptions constantly, so I was willing to take a look at Judaism, especially since there is a close connect between the Kabbalistic view of the sephiroth and the Eastern Orthodox view of the divine energies. They are essentially describing the same things.

I branched out into reading Maimonides and modern Jewish writers, as well as looking at comparative liturgies. I also and found a lot of challenging material in Dr. Philip Sherrard, Maximos Confessor and Fr. John Romanides that led me to again look at the issue of Neo-platonism and the Trinity. The question that arose for me was, is this all derived from Hellenism? I’m not saying I have the answer to all that, I’m just saying what arose in my mind. At what point is the New Testament a radical departure from the Torah? How much continuity is there, really? I basically took these matters on for myself.

More recently, I’ve reexamined a lot of St. Maximos Confessor’s works, which have a lot of parallels with the kabbalists in regard to the macrocosm-mircocosm view he takes of the Incarnation. There is a strong argument to be made here for his view of the necessity of the logoi being unified in the Logos. This would actually solve a lot of philosophical and theological issues. There is a really good scholarly article by Stephen Clark on this titled “Maximus Confessor: Logos and Logoi,” that gets into this issue. I certainly think the Eastern view makes more sense than the Latin view, especially in terms of eschatology.

How do you explain the still living presence of the philosophy of empiricism although it has been discredited many times?

My university advisor used to comment on that frequently. I had several courses that dealt with phenomenology and Husserl is said to have lamented that naïve empiricism can never be killed. It seems to be immortal like a vampire, no matter how many times you kill it. The sophists existed in Plato’s time, and they exist still, and will continue. The reason for this in my analysis is simply the fall of man. Relativism is the end result of empiricism, which is ultimately what Adam and Even opted for in Genesis. Continue reading

Romanian Writer Ninel Ganea Interviews Jay’s Analysis, Pt 1

Chill and read.

Chill and read.

Romanian writer, philosopher, and member of the Von Mises Institute, Ninel Ganea interviewed me concerning my own thoughts surrounding a variety of issues.  Ninel runs Karamazov.ro  and is posting the interview in 3 installments.  Below is part 1.

Part 2 here

Part 3 here

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you discover Eastern Theology and how did you get involved in political philosophy, metaphysics, theology and conspiracy theory? Is there a common line between these things, beside intellectual curiosity?

I’m a writer with an (almost) Master’s Degree in philosophy and English. My central interests are religion, theology and espionage, as well as economics and geo-politics, and particularly how these fields interrelate. I was raised Baptist, but when I turned 18 I took a deeper interest in theology and church history. I attended a couple Bible schools, but that led to a long, indepth look at patristics, which eventually led me out of Protestantism.

I became a Roman Catholic ten years ago, but still had not developed a deep understanding of Eastern theology and the Eastern fathers. After spending time studying the various liturgies, I became interested in Eastern theology, as well as its unique view of Triadology, the essence/energy distinction, and its connection to theosis. Immersion in those issues led me into an abiding fascination with Orthodoxy theology, as well as with classical Jewish theology.

During my younger years as a Protestant, I read a lot of what might be considered fundamentalist critiques of entities like the United Nations and the New Age Movement. My mother was an editor and a librarian, so I was always surrounded by books. Those early critiques of the U.N., Marxism and world government I read as a teenager put me on a path towards amassing several shelves of books that might be called “conspiratorial.” However, as one learns over time, “conspiracy” is really just a synonym for the study of espionage, propaganda, geo-political machinations and history itself. That’s simply the way the world works: large entities, be they nation states, corporations or political parties, all conspire. My past is one of conservative politics, but as I’ve matured, I’m much more critical of both so-called American “parties,” especially after you read something like Dr. Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope, which clearly demonstrates the Hegelian dialectical control and manipulation of the “two party system.”

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Apocalypticism, Republiconmunism and Race-specific Bio-Weapons

All aboard!  Here's your passport to republican utopia!

All aboard! Here’s your passport to republican utopia!

By: Jay

For a long time I’ve held back on my actual thoughts on things, but nowadays I could care less. The actual operation of the entire society has become so absurd, backward, and irrational that it is now comical. For those aware, it is quite evident there is a long term plan to re-engineer and reorganize the western world in particular. The modern world is under the delusion that it has been freed from the prison of “superstition” and “dogma”: Altar and throne have been overthrown and now the “New Man” can arise from the ash heap of millennia of “dark ages” and oppression. Modernity has given us medicine and personal computers, right? Indeed, so onwards towards the great utopia! But is this so?  Why do the day-to-day lives of those of use in modernity seem like everything but the great utopia?  The previous millennia has seen a multitude of millenialist demagogues hellbent on establishing the “Great Society,” yet the he awakening public is becoming aware of the sense that modern utopia is really another form of enslavement, as even Zbigniew Brzezinski has noted on multiple occasions.

But what if the uprising of the masses is not really a good thing? Mass uprisings bring forth the reordering of society under a new hierarchy: not the elimination of hierarchy. Marshalling of the masses for political means has ever been the tool of petty tyrants, demagogues and gainsayers, as well as powerful larger interests. To understand the gigantic farce of the modern world’s beliefs about itself, it is to the ancient world that we must turn. This is a point you will almost never hear mentioned, so grab your pen and paper and get ready for notes. Following upon the French Revolution, most of the western world supposedly rejected monarchy and religion in favor of Enlightenment Republicanism. Obviously this doesn’t mean Sarah Palin and George Bush. By “republicanism” is meant the idea of a republic, and the idea of a republic cannot be divorced from Plato, and an analysis of the Republic should be given, but before that, the stream (or sewer) of millennial sects and movements must be explained.

Prior to the French Revolutionary Jacobins and so-called “illuminists,” came the medieval heretical sects of the Bogomils and Cathari that represented the most significant challenges to papal power. While never an organized front, the sectarians were able to wrest various sections of Europe from Roman primacy, while the compliment in the East could be seen as Islam, representing similarly a gnostic challenge to the Imperial Orthodoxy of Byzantium (such is the origin of Bogomilism, which birthed the western gnostic movements).

Also concurrent with these movements were the Catholic orders that had similar trends, like the Franciscans and pseduo-millennialists like Joachim of Fiore. The Joachimites and some Franciscans foresaw an era of mass pouring out of “the Spirit,” ushering in a “golden age” of humanity living righteously. In fact, Benedict XVI has even written concerning these connections in Joachim as follows:

“Ratzinger dug deep in his research. And he discovered that in Bonaventure, there is a strong connection with the vision of Joachim of Fiore, the Franciscan who had prophesied the imminent advent of a third age after those of the Father and the Son, an age of the Spirit, with a renewed and entirely “spiritual” Church, poor, reconciled with Greeks and Jews, in a world restored to peace.”

I think there is a clear conduit from this to modern revolutionary movements. The Thomas Muntzer rebellion should also be mentioned as important currents of modern socialism, inasmuch as Muntzer attempted to practice perfect and total communism. It is also important that these centers of rebellion were France, Germania and Hungary: future centers of radical communism and “illuminism.” Renaissance humanism and the Reformation gave birth to the revolutionary movements of Illuminism and socialism, yet there are two crucial factors seldom mentioned in treatments of this subject that undergird all these trends: Plato and millennialism. Continue reading

Cloud Atlas (2012) – Esoteric Analysis

Film poster. “Everything is Connected.”

The Gospel of Illuminism

By: Jay

Cloud Atlas (2012) was an interesting film on several levels. Fans of both the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer will quickly recognize the fingerprints of all three, especially philosophical elements of the Matrix trilogy.  From the perspective of moral assessment, there is much in the film that I object to, but artistically speaking, I think it was excellent.  On a deeper, symbolic level, the film also has a wealth of beautiful imagery that alone made it worth watching, while on an even deeper, esoteric level, it is clear as to its meaning: metempsychosis and gnostic deification.  The history of western esoterism has long been obsessed with the notion of reclaiming lost knowledge and technology, all the way back to Plato’s Timaeus, and its legends of Atlantis.

Though I have not read the novel, I can divine its meaning from the film.  While audiences the land over appear to be bewildered, the knotted yarn can easily be untangled.  Early on, we are clued into a reference to Nietzsche’s “eternal recurrence,”  a shooting star birthmark that recurs in characters over different generations, and a highly significant musical piece being written, known as the “Cloud Atlas.”  In total, six different time periods with a handful of reincarnated persons all interconnect, leading from 1846 to 2346.  The other element that stands out is that each of these periods includes some system of oppression.  The first, 1846, involves slavery and human trafficking, with a good Christian man helping save the life of a good-hearted slave.  In the next, a Cambridge University gay couple battles the system of post-Victorian era “sexual oppression,” which leads to one of the two writing the “Cloud Atlas” musical piece.

From there, a hot 1970s journalist Halle Berry interacts with one of the gay lovers who has documentation to expose a large nuclear facility that is planning on a false flag event to make nuclear power look bad, for the benefit of big oil.  Next, we are introduced to a publisher in 2012 London who engineers an escape from an old folks’ home, and from there, we move to a dystopian Korean future where a one world government known as “Unanimity” rules with technocratic iron fist.  In this timeline, Sonmi-451 is a genetically engineered clone that works as an acolyte in the religion of the future: Fast Food.  From there, we move to a post-apocalyptic unknown continent that has been destroyed by what appears to be a nuclear disaster or war of some kind, in which the future future Tom Hanks must guide a future future Halle Berry to the location of a Sonmi “temple,” which is actually the technology to go offworld.

Without getting bogged down in the details of the non-linear narrative, and exactly how they connect, the viewer should understand that the story is told in a non-linear fashion to associate the viewer with the idea of eternal return.  The narratives are non-linear like the philosophy: each character is thus reincarnated into different roles and forms, based upon the decisions and roles made in the last life.  Death, as Sonmi-451 (the film’s prophet-philosopher), explains, is just a doorway to the next life.  The decisions you make in this life, determine the birth in the next, she explains.  This is metempsychosis, and the ancient transmigration of souls taught by Plato and the Eastern mystery religions.  The wheel of birth and death can only be transcended by enlightenment and right living, the general philosophy goes, which will lead to the recovery of the lost gnosis, or in this case, and in some of western esoterism, lost technology. Continue reading

Blood Meridian as Gnostic Tirade: A Response to Harold Bloom and Leo Daugherty

Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian"

  

By: Jay

     Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian is considered by many critics to be one of the best novels of the last century, ranked by many with Moby Dick and Absalom! Absalom!, while some have called McCarthy the heir apparent to William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor.  Blood Meridian is certainly not your average book, and as such, many find it difficult and inaccessible.  As Harold Bloom notes, it is a modern great, and in may respects resembles Homer or Dante.   However, Blood Meridian is also more than a novel: it is a statement about many things, the most crucial of which is McCarthy’s gnostic tirade against life as it is.

     Critic Leo Daugherty’s thesis is thus only partially correct: that the novel is a “gnostic tragedy,” and this is precisely what endows the novel with its elevated style and inaccessibility.  Daugherty’s thesis is too weak: to those steeped in the theological discourse of the early patristic period, including the polemical tracts of the early fathers such as Irenaeus of Lyon, it is quite clear that Blood Meridian is brimming with gnostic themes and ideas on virtually every page, and is fact is a gnostic polemical tirade.  Daugherty is correct about it being gnostic. However, there are many elements he misses and misinterprets.  My purpose is to respond to his statements, as well to Bloom’s claim that it is incorrect to see the Judge as a gnostic figure or archon, but rather that he should be cast as more of an enigma. Bloom claims:

     The citations and references to the work of Jacob Böhme, who is, after all, a very specific type of Kabbalistic Gnostic… I think you would have to say that they’re something of an evasion of the themes in Blood Meridian. McCarthy knows exactly what Gnosticism is, and he could have made Judge Holden into an explicitly Gnostic figure if he’d wanted to. He wants to keep Judge Holden completely inexplicable. Saying that he is a sort of Gnostic demiurge is too facile for McCarthy’s portrayal of him.[1] Continue reading

The Dark Crystal – Esoteric Analysis

Henson's Dark Crystal

By: Jay

 Much like Labyrinth, Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal is one of those kid’s films all of us who grew up in the 80s seem to have a strange affinity for. And, much like Labyrinth, it is chock full of Henson’s same occult proclivities. While Labyrinth, in my analysis, constituted the inner journey into Sarah’s psyche (much like Inception is an inner journey into Cobb’s labyrinthine psyche), Dark Crystal is more of an exterior journey.

 We are told in the beginning the setting is a long gone “age of wonder” on another world where time comes and goes in thousand-year cycles, or aeons. Such terminology may be said to be of another world, but as the symbolism necessarily goes, such films (and all stories in general) function as statements relative to the human story. Thus, the two great races that arise in the age of the Dark Crystal are symbolic of two kinds of people (passive and aggressive/followers and elites), which is itself a manifestation of the film’s obsession with duality. Indeed, the film follows perfectly in a long train of gnostic nostalgia, elsewhere reviewed by me.

 The notion of a 1,000 year cycle is also a Hindu theme, similar to the theory of Kali Yuga, where we are currently entering an age of dominance of chaos, the demonic, strife and dischord. This is also similar to the notion espoused by other occultists that this is the aeon of the child, etc. Occultist Madame Blavatsky also formulated bizarre theories of numerous other races and worlds that preceded our own, as well as the Babylonian Talmud mentioning such ideas. It becomes evident that Henson, like Lucas, borrowed heavily from the mythology of various cultures in creating these fantasies.

 The eastern dualist conceptions are marked in the film, as mentioned. The Skekses represent the left hand path of severity and cruelty, control and empire, while the “gentle mystics” are supposed to represent the “gentle ways of natural wizards.” The Skekses, then, are harbingers of technology and power – they harness the Dark Crystal for the purpose of advanced control mechanisms and even brainwashing (yes, brainwashing), while the mystics are purported to be in tune with nature and the forest. The Mystics, as is worth noting, chant the Buddhist “Om,” further reinforcing the eastern dualist religious conceptions, while the Skekses are busy enacting the “Ceremony of the Sun” for the passing of the Emperor, which brings to mind ancient Egyptian theology, and it’s identification of Pharoah as son of Ra. Continue reading

Tron Legacy: Esoteric Analysis

Notice the pyramidal structure of the black on bottom and top, from which light emanates. This symbolizes the gnostic version of as above, so below - dualism. Its "Just a Game" because its an illusory world.

By: Jay

I hate to always harp on gnosticism, but it’s undeniably the recurrent theme of most sci fi and fantasy/cult films. Gnosticism is the ancient perennial tradition that descends from Egypt and (possibly) older civilizations. In its modern form, it comes to us from the Nag Hammadi documents recently discovered, whose tradition was passed down in the secret societies and occult orders, of which Freemasonry is a good example. I am not saying that Freemasonry is actually a lineage from Egypt, but that there is a similarity of doctrine that has come down through the ages. 

By the first century, the gnostic traditions flourished, rivalling and challenging other sects, becoming a force of its own. To put it simply, gnosticism posits that the present creation is a subordinate, evil one, wherein evil is given a substantial existence as the created order itself. Religions such as Manichaeanism are perfect examples of this trend, where a dualism is sometimes posited between a “good” God who is far away and unknown, identified with thought or light, and an evil deity or demiurge, identified as the Creator of this world. In the time of the rise of Christianity in the first three centuries of the Church, the gnostics were the chief opponents of the God presented in the Law and prophets of the Israelites, and charged God with Himself being evil.  Texts such as the Hypostasis of the Archons and The Gospel of Thomas are prime examples.

The gnostics instead proffered that “Jesus” was thus a revolutionary reformer who tossed away all traditional concepts of Jewish theology, and brought in the new gnosis, or knowledge – the Gospel of salvation through enlightenment. It is to such patristic commentators like Irenaeus of Lyon and Tertullian of Carthage that we get an indepth glimpse into 2nd century gnosticism, from figures like Marcion.  But gnosticism is not just a reaction against the God of the Bible, it also shares many commonalities with ancient eastern religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, and thus exemplifies syncretism.  Themes such as pantheism and/or dualism, many gradations of archons, or gods or avatars that rule this kosmos, etc., all recur in gnosticism. In this regard, gnosticism is in many ways the inheritor of the ancient pagan religions, and particularly Egypt.  So with that said, we can now analyze the kind of symbolic scheme that is put forth as an image of our world as presented in Tron Legacy.  

Daft Punk, who did the soundtrack and appears in the film, performs here atop the pyramid.

Central to gnosticism is the theme of redemption or salvation from this world through special knowledge, which constitutes the “gnosis.” Generally, this is knowledge that has been lost, and must be recovered, often symbolized in literature or film by some magical object or memory, etc. In Tron, Flynn’s (Jeff Bridges) son, Sam, must “save” his father from the “grid,” or matrix, where he has become enslaved, having more or less forgotten his family in the real world. Sam, of course brings to mind “Sammael,” another name for Satan in the biblical tradition, and this makes sense, given that Tron presents Sam Flynn as the savior of the feminine archetype, “Quorra.”  This also mirrors gnostic themes, where the feminine principle, the Pistis Sophia is one of the archons of gnostic salvation.  Wikimedia notes of Quorra:

Quorra, the Pistis Sophia, revealer of mysteries and the psyche of the (cpu) world

“Prior to the conflict between the Basics and ISOs, Quorra was friends with Radia. She witnessed Clu’s betrayal when he attempted to kill Tron and Flynn, and when Clu declared war, she – with the help of a prototype security program named System Monitor – attempted to warn Radia and the ISO’s about him as well as combat the viral program Abraxas.” Continue reading